Our Director of Education, Emily Bryan, ran our first mini-camp last week. Here is her reflection at the end of the week with our awesome 7-13 year old Juliets!
Today we finished our first Shakespeare mini-camp (ages 7-13) in Rowayton and if the rest of our summer camps are anything like this one we are going to have a fantastic time! We started not really planning to have a performance at the end of this camp because it was only twelve hours -- seemed like hardly enough time. But our Rowayton girls were intrepid and fearless. Everyone wanted to take on the challenge of Juliet and they were game for Mercutio, Tybalt and anyone else in the play.
I should have known they would want to perform from the second they waltzed in breezily sighing, "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" In fact, when we realized that they would all want to play Juliet, Claire Kelly, our Director of Youth Programs, Manda Jacobi, our Education Apprentice and I quickly devised a script that would tell the arc of Juliet's character, from falling in love to her tragic death, split among six Juliets.
By our second session, we had quickly covered the plot and characters of the play and they had designed exquisite masks for their Juliet character, and I handed them the script for the "Juliet Arc." They liked this part, especially that they would get to stage Juliet's death. But what about the other deaths in the play, they wanted to know. What about act 3, scene 1? Mercutio and Tybalt, dead in one scene -- we should do that one, too -- right?
And finally toward the end of day two, one of them pulled me aside. The arc of Juliet was all very good, and they were happy to each have a piece of Juliet, but really what everyone wants, she told me, is the true essence of Juliet -- the balcony scene.
But Juliet is so much more, I thought to myself. That's so early in the play! How about when she chides the nurse or yearns for Romeo on her wedding night or offers to jump in a dead man's shroud rather than marry Paris? I mean, isn't she absolutely awesome then too?
Well, we had to do the balcony scene and if we did that scene with the fight scene we would have six good characters. But how would we cast it? Did they want me to decide or leave it to fate and pull names out of the hat? In keeping with the play -- leave it to fate. As each girl opened the paper, five voices shrieked "no," and one girl calmly strode to the window, tilted her nose upward and settled a small, but satisfied grin on her lips. She, the fortunate she, had picked "Juliet" and the rest were disconsolate.
I realized that Juliet is kind of a rock star just for that one scene alone. So, yes, we did the balcony scene, but with six Juliets and six Romeos and it worked! (Don't worry, the fated Juliet still got to say the "best" lines of the scene, "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo"). But they also performed the fight scene and the death of Juliet and they were awesome and fierce themselves!
- Emily Byran, Director of Education
We still have some open spots in our summer camps happening throughout the weeks of our production in Greenwich and Rowayton for students ages 5-14! All information can be found at: www.shakespeareonthesound.org/summer-camp or email our Director of Youth Programs, Claire Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.299.1300 if you have any questions.